CDT Day 104: mountains at last

Day 104: Big Sandy Lodge to mile 1809.8, 18.7 miles

Total miles: 1580.6

The chef at Big Sandy Lodge offered to make us breakfast earlier than the usual 7:30am, as we wanted to get hiking by 6:30am. He said it was no problem, as he gets into the kitchen at 4am, as he’s an early riser, and I immediately liked him. I too, when I worked in the wilderness lodges in Maine, would get to work around that time. Not because I had to, but because I really cherished those early morning hours between 4-6am, where I had my own little sanctum in the kitchen combining eggs and flour, plus a few other ingredients, to create muffins and scones amongst other things.

Breakfast was delicious, potatoes and eggs, and we were on the trail soon after as planned. So were the mosquitoes, we thought they had been annoying in the previous days, but they were worse as we hiked into the heart of the Winds which has many lakes. I put my rain gear and head net on, and was protected. I’m nervous about using bug spray usually, but being pregnant it makes me more so. It may be unjustified, but so far I haven’t felt like I’ve needed it on this trip. I am envious of those covered in DEET though, blissfully hiking through the Winds in shorts and a T-shirt, their heads unobstructed by a mesh net.

The bugs didn’t matter much, because after days of waiting we were finally immersed in the mountains in all of their glory.

We had a few easy stream crossings, and we left our shoes on for all of them except the last. My trail runners were almost dry, and we were stopping for lunch, so I took them off in hopes they’d completely dry out during lunch. As I was walking up slowly to our lunch spot on the other side barefoot, I saw two baby birds running down the trail. They were too small to get a good picture, and I wondered what type they were and more importantly where their mother was! I could hear some loud chirping in the distance, hopefully she was yelling at them to get back to the safety of the nest.

We took a long lunch break, extended by the fact that we ran into Liminal, Candy Man, and Deep Water who we’d last seen in the Great Divide Basin. They are a fun bunch, and we see so few thru-hikers our here, it’s always nice to catch-up with other hikers. Later we met Hercules who was hiking along, and popped up when we were taking a snack break and greeted us like we were old friends. Our snack break went longer than usual, but we managed to make a few more miles to find a nice camp with a great view.